“When should I see a fertility doctor?”
This is a question that probably many of you trying to get pregnant are asking yourselves. The answer isn’t always easy – knowing when to see a fertility doctor can be complicated because there are so many variables involved. To help navigate this question, here are a few guidelines to help.
All fertility doctors are specialized OB/Gyns that have done extra training in fertility, typically an additional 3-year fellowship called Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. Most general OB/Gyns can start your fertility evaluation and some even provide basic fertility treatments, but many people prefer to do all of the evaluation and treatment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
The general rule is that if you are 34 years old or younger, you should try for one year before being evaluated. If you are 35 or older, then egg quality becomes an issue, and you should seek evaluation after six months of trying.
But in some cases, there are patients who should go directly to a fertility specialist before trying to get pregnant on their own. If any of the below 11 items apply to you, make an appointment with a doctor before you start trying to conceive.
- You don’t get a monthly period or your periods are very irregular. If you aren’t having a regular cycle, you are probably not ovulating (releasing an egg).
- You are experiencing significant pelvic pain on a regular basis. This could indicate endometriosis, fibroids or cysts, all which can inhibit pregnancy.
- You have been treated for a sexually transmitted disease in the past. STDs left untreated or undetected for a while can cause scar tissue to form in your fallopian tubes. A test can detect whether your fallopian tubes are open.
- You have had surgery on your tubes or in your abdominal area. It may be possible that the tubes aren’t open due to scar tissue left over from previous surgeries.
- You are experiencing excessive upper body weight gain, acne and abnormal hair growth on your face, chest or back. These symptoms may be a sign of polycystic ovaries and insulin imbalance. Early detection and treatment may prevent long-term complications including infertility.
- You have had your uterus removed. To have a baby, you will need a gestational carrier.
- You are a carrier for a genetic condition that you don’t want to pass down. We can test embryos for the genetic condition and select the healthiest embryos for treatment, or you can use donor sperm or eggs.
- You have had more than one miscarriage. To prevent another pregnancy loss, we can investigate the potential cause of miscarriage.
- Your partner has had testicular surgery or sexual dysfunction is present. If your male partner has had testicular surgery or has difficulty with erection or ejaculation, he may have abnormal sperm.
- Your partner is undergoing testosterone treatment. If your male partner is on testosterone boosters, supplements or shots, this can often stop sperm production.
- Sterilization is present. If you or your partner has ever been sterilized through tubal ligation or vasectomy, fertility assistance will be necessary to achieve pregnancy.
Getting an evaluation and seeing a fertility specialist can feel intimidating, scary, and difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to find a fertility clinic and doctor that you are comfortable with.
If you and your partner are curious about your fertility potential, there are several basic fertility tests available that can help, mainly checking to see if there are normal amounts of eggs and sperm. Call our office today to schedule your consultation, 888/467-2229.